There were 34 entries in today's 1.50m classic, and seven of those were able to find the clear round over a course designed by Steve Stephens of Palmetto, FL. Hecart and Babbe van't Roosakker, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by Kannan, were able to keep a quick pace and efficient turns for the fastest clear jump-off ride in 39.496 seconds.
Second place went to Sergio Niento Del Rio with Fabiana, who were also double clear in 41.246 seconds, while Scott Brash (GBR) and Intertoy Z were just behind in third with a time of 41.361 seconds.
Hecart and Babbe have a long history together. Hecart's family and father, famous show jumper Michel Hecart, run a large breeding operation of 200 horses at Haras de la Rogue, which is next to the Deauville show grounds. Babbe has been in the barn since she was two years old. Hecart rode the mare when she was five years old before she moved to North America. Michel Hecart will be in Wellington tomorrow to help the French team in the $75,000 FEI Nations Cup, presented by G&C Farm, on Friday, March 4.
She explained, "All the horses that I ride now are from them. It's perfect for me; they send horses to me that are for sale. It works well. I knew her a little bit when she was young, but she has changed a lot. My dad rode her, and she did grand prix in France."
Hecart said of the course, "I think it was a nice course considering the ring. He didn't build too big, which is good because there were a lot of tight turns. I watched parts of the jump-off. I wanted to make sure what I walked would work, and that I could do the inside turn. I just went, and it worked!"
Hecart and Babbe were third in last week's 1.50m class, which shows great consistency for the mare. "She just started showing here three weeks ago," Hecart smiled. "It's always nice to win."
Weatherly Stroh and Sigfried Top $5,000 WCHR Amateur-Owner 3'3" Hunter Classic Spectacular
World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) competition continued at the FTI WEF today with an exciting win for Weatherly Stroh and Sigfried in the $5,000 WCHR Amateur-Owner Hunter 3'3" Classic. Stroh and Sigfried, owned by Susanne Stroh, earned a score of 164 to top the class. Sandra Epstein and Catamount finished in second place, just half a point behind the leaders with a score of 163.5. Nicole Olinyk and Sea Walker finished in third with a 160.75, and Jean Sheptoff rode Condesi to fourth place honors with a score of 155.25.
Class winner Weatherly Stroh is from Colorado and this is her first time competing in Wellington at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Stroh usually shows in Arizona during the winter season and was excited for a change of scenery this year. While in Florida, Stroh is riding with trainer Heather Irvine.
"Heather talked us into coming and I just wanted to see what it was like," Stroh stated. "It has been great; it is way beyond what we expected. Everybody has been so friendly and the weather is fantastic. The jumps are beautiful and the rings are great. It has been a lot of fun."
Stroh's mount today was Sigfried, a nine-year-old Westphalian gelding. Sigfried shows in the Second Year Green Hunters with rider Erynn Ballard, and this is Stroh's first year riding him. Sigfried also showed in last night's professional WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular with Ballard and was in top form for Stroh today.
"He is just so much fun to ride; he has the best canter, which makes it so easy to find the jumps on," Stroh noted. "You just loop the reins and he goes. I am having so much fun with him. Yesterday I was a little bit inconsistent so I knew today that there were people that had better scores than me, so my goal was just to be smooth and try not to do anything drastic."
Stroh plans to take next week off and will then compete two more weeks in Florida. She will return to Colorado for the summer and then hopes to compete at indoors this fall. As she gets more comfortable and confident in her partnership with Sigfried, Stroh also hopes to move up to the 3'6" division this year.
The sixth week of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival will conclude tomorrow with the $50,000 G&C Farm Palm Beach Jumping Derby on the grass field at The Stadium at 3 p.m. The WCHR Junior/Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic Spectacular will be the highlight hunter class of the day.
For full results please visit www.showgroundslive.com and for more information, visit www.equestriansport.com.
Final Results: $31,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 6
- 1 BABBE VAN'T ROOSAKKER MARIE HECART HARAS DE LA ROGUE: 0/0/39.496
- 2 FABIANA SERGIO NIENTO DEL RIO SERGIO NIENTO DEL RIO: 0/0/41.246
- 3 INTERTOY Z SCOTT BRASH SCOTT BRASH: 0/0/41.361
- 4 ROSALIA LA SILLA ALBERTO MICHAN LA SILLA: 0/4/39.205
- 5 TORONTO CANDICE KING AAA EQUESTRIAN LLC: 0/4/43.158
- 6 DANTE LUIS ALEJANDRO PLASENCIA LUIS ALEJANDRO PLASENCIA: 0/8/40.331
- 7 COPILOT JACKIE MC QUADE JACKIE MCQUADE: 0/8/40.696
- 8 G&C TROPI GOLD GUSTAVO ARROYO G&C FARM: 2/87.168
- 9 QUAINTON QUIRIFINO Z BEN MAHER QUAINTON STUD: 4/75.131
- 10 G&C NAPOLEON GUSTAVO ARROYO G&C FARM: 4/80.250
- 11 CELESTA RODRIGO DIAZ RODRIGO DIAZ: 4/80.427
- 12 AMI DES GEMMES CORY HARDY INTERNATIONAL GROUP: 4/81.075